POLITICS
12/05/2012 07:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2012

Joe Lieberman Wishes He Had Left Obama Criticism Out Of 2008 Convention Speech

Outgoing Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) recently spoke to the Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe about his tenure in the Senate, touching on his controversial 2008 endorsement of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president over Barack Obama.

"I have no regrets about it," Lieberman, a former Democrat who was the party's vice presidential nominee in 2000, said of the endorsement. "I understood entirely, in that case, why a lot of Democrats were angry at me. It was harder for me in other cases where we disagreed on issues, because generally speaking I've agreed with most Democrats on most issues."

O'Keefe pressed Lieberman on his criticism of Obama during his speech at the Republican National Convention, despite his pledge to be a "positive" endorser for McCain.

"Senator Barack Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who I think can do great things for our country in the years ahead," Lieberman said during his 2008 speech. "But, my friends, eloquence is no substitute for a record, not in these tough times for America."

Lieberman told O'Keefe that he'd likely omit the attack on Obama if he were to give the speech again.

"Most of my speech was very positive about John McCain. There was like two or three sentences in there where I compared him to then-Senator Obama based on experience," Lieberman said. "To tell you the truth, if I had it to do over again I would've left out those few sentences."

Lieberman continued: "I didn't say anything I didn't believe in terms of relative experience, but it wasn't necessary to what I was doing at that convention, which was to affirmatively support my friend John McCain."

Lieberman refrained from making an endorsement during the 2012 presidential election.

The Connecticut senator, who switched his party affiliation to Independent in 2006 after losing the Democratic senate primary, is set to retire in January after four terms in Congress. Senator-elect Chris Murphy, the Democrat who defeated Republican Linda McMahon in November's election, will assume his seat.

Watch the Washington Post's full interview with Lieberman below.

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